Published January 13, 2015
All the Washington Redskins' angst over Robert Griffin III's knee suddenly seems like a mere trifle, at least when compared the quarterback problems faced by rookie head coach Doug Marrone and his Buffalo Bills.
Griffin again moved well on his surgically repaired right knee in the warmups before Saturday's 30-7 win over the Buffalo Bills. And in case Griffin doesn't get cleared by Week 1 of the regular season, there's still Kirk Cousins, who should be over his sprained right foot by then.
And should neither Griffin nor Cousins be ready, there's always Rex Grossman, who threw for 171 yards and a touchdown against Buffalo.
The Bills aren't so fortunate. With first-round pick EJ Manuel nursing a left knee injury, Kevin Kolb started and left the game with concussion-like symptoms in the first quarter. The only quarterback left was undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel, who completed 10 of 17 passes for 63 yards and looked, well, like an undrafted rookie.
Forget Plan B. Time for Plan C. Or D. Or E.
"It is a concern," Marrone said. "I'm not going to sit here and say everything's fine and dandy."
What we learned from the Bills' visit to Washington:
1. WELCOME BECK: Remember John Beck, Redskins fans? He was half of the Beck-Grossman tandem on which Washington coach Mike Shanahan infamously staked his reputation just two years ago. Beck has been out of football for nearly a year, but the Bills are so desperate that they are bringing him and Matt Leinart in for workouts, according to a person familiar with the team's plans who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the workouts haven't been publicly announced. Given Manuel's knee injury and Kolb's history with concussions, it wouldn't be farfetched to see Beck or Leinart start a regular season game this year.
2. REX STILL HAS IT: He'll always be a high risk-high reward kind of quarterback, but it's not too shabby to have an experienced hand like Grossman as the backup to the backup. He would have had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown had the defensive back not dropped the ball, but Grossman otherwise led the Redskins well, completing 11 of 21 passes, including a 7-yard touchdown to Pierre Garcon. "It was fun to start the game and go with the ones and be in that huddle again," Grossman said. "Just even preparing and going to bed last night knowing I'm starting. Going through that whole routine again was fun."
3. CRAWFORD OUT FOR THE YEAR: The Redskins lost punt returner Richard Crawford for the season with a left knee injury, and there's no clear alternative on the roster. The second-year player was hurt on a 3-yard punt return in the first quarter. He's remembered mostly for his 64-run return that set up the winning field goal in an overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens last year. Rookie running back Chris Thompson took over the punt return duties after Crawford left the game on Saturday, but Thompson has fumbled in two straight games. Santana Moss or DeAngelo Hall could do the job in a pinch, but coach Mike Shanahan will be looking for someone else to step up.
4. MORE BUFFALO WOES: It's bad enough to run low on healthy quarterbacks, but the Bills have other issues, particularly in the secondary. Safety Da'Norris Searcy suffered a head injury, and cornerback Stephon Gilmore left with an injured wrist. Marrone didn't have an update on either player. Fortunately, he's getting back two-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd, who was on the sidelines Saturday after rejoining the team following a contentious offseason. Byrd might be a bit grumpy, though: He was hoping for a huge multiyear contract as a free agent this year, but in the end he had no choice but to sign a one-year deal after Buffalo designated him as a franchise player.
5. FLAG ON THE PLAY: Penalties have been a problem for the Redskins throughout the preseason, and Saturday was no exception. Veteran cornerback Josh Wilson was flagged for a 34-yard pass interference penalty on the first play from scrimmage. Rookie cornerback David Amerson was hit with a 15-yard facemask foul later in the first quarter, then committed a 42-yard interference penalty in the second quarter. The grand total was 106 yards on six penalties, hardly the type of discipline needed if the Redskins are to repeat as NFC East champions.
AP Sports Writer John Wawrow contributed to this report from Buffalo, N.Y.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP